FROM the ARCHIVES: In June 2014, Xeni Gwet’in Chief Roger William, said it was a special day following the landmark ruling. The First Nation’s chief that made news in 2014 for a landmark court victory on behalf of the Xeni Gwet’in is facing a sex offence charge.
Roger William, the elected Chief of the Xeni Gwet’in First Nation, has had one charge of sexual interference of a person under the age of 16 approved by the Special Prosectuor, Brock Martland.
According to the BC Prosecution Service (BCPS), the offence is alleged to have happened on or about May 12 in Williams Lake.
Martland was appointed Special Prosecutor on Aug. 28 after a report to the Crown relating to the charge. The BCPS said an appointment of a Special Prosecutor was done “to avoid any potential real or perceived improper influence in the administration of justice.”
William declined comment but referred questions to his lawyer, David Rosenberg.
Rosenberg described William as a “tremendous leader and devoted community member” who was “greatly saddened” when he heard the accusation.
Chief William was the plantiff in a June 2014 court case that saw the Supreme Court of Canada agreed the Tsilhqot’in Nation has title to a huge area in the south-central part of the province. The decision supports Tsilhqot’in title to a 438-square kilometre section of land in the Chilcotin region, but says title is not absolute and economic development can still proceed where title is established, as long as the First Nation consents or another compelling reason exists.
Chief William’s first appearance at Williams Lake Provincial Court is on Wednesday.
FROM THE ARCHIVES: B.C. First Nations leaders and the lawyer for the Tsilhqot’in First Nation react to the landmark Supreme Court ruling ~ with files from Canadian Press
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